What does the Nassau County Child Advocacy Center (CAC) do?
The mission of Nassau County CAC at The Safe Center is to protect children and their non-offending family members from abuse. The CAC is a child-friendly setting where children can feel safe to talk to Law Enforcement and Child Protective partners about abuse allegations and where supportive services are available to help the child and family heal.
What is a Multidisciplinary Team (MDT)?
A multidisciplinary team is a group who work together on a specific project. The Nassau County MDT investigates allegations of sexual and severe physical abuse of children and provides supportive services to children and their families dealing with the aftermath of abuse.
Before there were MDTs and CACs, Detectives and CPS Workers had very little training and in how to speak to children about abuse. The child would be questioned by many different people and information was not always shared. All of this meant that fewer arrests were made, fewer petitions were filed in Family Court, fewer cases went forward to criminal prosecution and more children and families were left to deal with these issues alone without supportive services.
The MDT approach helps investigative team members obtain the best, most accurate information to evaluate child abuse allegations and because this information is shared with MDT partners, it ensures each team member can do their part to support children and their families. If a child reports abuse, this coordinated approach helps District and County Attorneys successfully prosecute abusers. Most importantly, the MDT model ensures children do not have to tell what happened over and over to different people. This process helps avoid conflicting reports and allows the healing for the child and family to begin immediately.
Who serves on the Nassau County MDT?
The Nassau County Child Abuse MDT consists of the following partners:
• Nassau County Department of Social Services’ Sex Abuse and Severe Physical Abuse Units
• Nassau County Police Department’s Special Victims Squad
• Nassau County District Attorney’s Office’s Special Victims Bureau
• Office of the County Attorney, Family Court Abuse and Neglect Bureau
• Nassau University Medical Center’s Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect and Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner programs
• The Safe Center’s Child Victim Advocate and Children’s Mental Health Programs
Most of these partners are located on-site at the CAC to facilitate the best communication and outcomes for children and their families.
What is a Forensic Interview?
A Forensic Interview is a conversation with a child focused on getting as much information as possible about an allegation of abuse. Interviews at the Nassau County CAC are conducted by members of the MDT who have received advanced training in interviewing children to ensure they utilize developmentally appropriate, non-leading and legally defensible techniques.